BOZEMAN – For three hours a day, every day of the week, Dean Christie and Ryan Schooley can be found at Bozeman Karate.
“We’re going to the national championships and U.S. team trials,” Schooley said.
The 15-year-old has been to the competition twice, and his 12-year-old teammate has been once.
Christie and Schooley will travel to Greenville, South Carolina this week with a third teammate. Each student will compete in two events, with the winner and runner-up for each event in each age group earning an automatic bid to compete in Buenos Aires, Argentina on Team USA.
“He’s training for the U.S. National team, that’s his goal,” said Terry Schooley, Ryan’s father.
Outside of the studio, they run up Bozeman’s M Trail every morning and even work to help fund the trip.
“He raises half the funds by mowing lawns and shoveling walks, so I know he’s committed because of his participation in the financial part of it,” said Dean’s father, Mike Christie.
The boys have given up other sports to dedicate their time to karate year-round.
“I think it’s fun for the fighting aspect and it helps you defend yourself,” Dean Christie said.
“It makes me almost confident, I don’t have to be scared when I go most places,” Ryan Schooley said.
The parents appreciate knowing their sons can defend themselves, but it isn’t their main reason for enrolling their kids in karate in the first place.
“He also has the skills to defend other people and keep other people safe and be able to stand up for them,” Mike Christie said.
“The stuff that we think he gains out of this is discipline, confidence for self-knowing that he’s worked that hard for something,” Terry Schooley said.
“He always wanted to do karate since he was about 3 years old. He was running around the house doing karate chops and he actually karate chopped our dog and hurt it pretty bad,” Mike Christie said.
As an added bonus, the boys have made some of their best friends through karate.
“I will be switching schools and so the friends that I’ve made here are going to make that easier to transfer,” Dean Christie said.